Television has been in the process of moving to online platforms for quite some time, but in the past week cable has taken another few blows from the movement. Last week on Wednesday, HBO announced that 2015 would bring their users the ability to subscribe to HBO Go as a standalone platform rather than limiting access to only cable subscribers. Furthermore, CBS announced on Thursday that they would hop onto the bandwagon as well with their own internet-only platform for content. As a result, cable took another two blows pushing it towards its potential demise.
As the walls of cable’s continued stranglehold on the television industry continue to crumble, it becomes more obvious that the future of television is online. Television has reached a breaking point where millennials on their laptops often have a better opportunity to view new content than those with the best cable plans. Online content providers such as Netflix and Amazon are now building their own repertoires of exclusive media only available on their platform. Netflix’s offerings have earned them Emmy awards for the likes of House of Cards, and as a result of this show of success, many companies are following.
Amazon has been gearing for a battle with Netflix for some time by producing their own exclusive content. Amazon Studios shows are available to Amazon Prime subscribers and have been received well over the past year. Amazon was able to get John Goodman to star in Alpha House, their political comedy, and their exclusive shows hold high ratings on the website. While their content has yet to receive the same acclaim that Netflix has had with House of Cards, it is professionally produced television nonetheless.
Cable took another serious blow from television moving online when HBO announced that their Go service would be available on its own subscription. For a long time, HBO helped keep cable alive. Enthusiasts for HBO’s hit shows like Game of Thrones were forced to maintain costly cable subscriptions in order to continue to receive the shows. In fact, some fans of HBO’s television shows only keep their cable to watch the premium content. HBO’s arrival online has potential to leave an empty gap in cable subscriptions as fans of their shows move to the more basic, likely less costly plan.
It does not help that cable channels are continuing to offer content online for free, either. Fans of most networks can visit the channel’s website and watch content that has recently aired on television. Of course, users still have to watch the advertisements, but they would have had to do that anyway if they had watched the show on television. Networks like Comedy Central release free streams of new shows the day after they air, even in regard to programs like The Daily Show that receive four releases a week.
As television continues to move to an online platform in almost every capacity, cable will continue to take blow after blow. The ability to watch nearly any show after it airs eliminates the need to watch it when it does. Some of the best content is now being produced by online providers, making their services more intriguing to fans of good television. Even the news is easily accessible via the internet and every major organization immediately releases videos on their website, often live, to report on any important or breaking news. All of that points to the age of cable reaching an end while the age of internet-based television is just being born.
Opinion By Brett Stewart